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Tuesday, November 29, 2011                                       RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Tapestry Midwifery Receives National “Best Practice” Recognition from ACNM

Vergennes--Tapestry Midwifery in Vergennes has been recognized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) for achieving “Best Practice” standards for small- sized midwifery practices in four clinical areas. These are: Lowest Rate of Low Birthweight Infants, Lowest Rate of Maternal Length of Stay After a C-section, Lowest Maternal Readmission Rate and Highest Breastfeeding Continuation Rate.

According to the ACNM, this recognition is in connection with their ongoing “Benchmarking Project”, which is a method for comparing care processes to those of other practices and identifying “best practices”.

“Benchmarking helps project participants to improve and adapt the care they provide to obtain superior outcomes in patient satisfaction, patient safety, effectiveness and efficiency” according to the ACNM web site.

“The purpose of the ACNM Benchmarking Project is to improve and maintain the quality of midwifery care provided to women and children by promoting member awareness of best practices” per their report. To facilitate this process, members share data on nationally recognized quality metrics.

According to the ACNM, a total of 50 data points were collected and analyzed during 2011, resulting in 33 benchmarks for comparison. A total of 98 midwifery practices participated, representing more than 53,000 births and the work of approximately 570 midwives.

“We are honored to receive this recognition by the ACNM and are very proud of the
services we provide to women and families”, said Heather Kidde, one of the three certified nurse-midwives working at Tapestry Midwifery.

Dr. Katherine Wagner, a physician at Addison Associates in OB/GYN agrees, “Women in our community are extremely fortunate to have a variety of exceptional resources and providers available to them for their maternity care, including our new Birthing Center, our colleagues at Tapestry Midwifery and my physician colleagues here at our practice.”

“We applaud this recognition for Tapestry Midwifery and congratulate the staff for achieving this status”, she said.


New Hospitalist Program at Porter

Porter Hospital has established a new “Hospitalist” program that will begin in October. The purpose of the Hospitalist program is to provide the highest quality, coordinated and consistent services to individuals who are admitted to the Medical/Surgical Unit at the hospital. A primary care provider will have appropriate communication with the Hospitalist physician who will care for each patient as an inpatient, but he or she will not be directly managing the care on a day-today basis during a hospitalization. The Porter “hospitalist” program is similar to other programs throughout Vermont and the U.S.

Many hospitals, working closely with their primary care and specialist physicians, have established such programs and hired specialized physicians who focus exclusively on caring for hospitalized patients. These programs are generally highly successful and provide very complete, comprehensive and coordinated care.

Dr. Mike Kiernan, President of the Porter Hospital Medical Staff offered the following: “Years ago when a patient would arrive at the Porter Emergency Room, their doctor would be summoned from their busy office to care for them. Several decades ago we changed to a model where physicians with special training in Emergency Care and years of experience were stationed in the Emergency Room allowing us to provide consistent, timely and responsive care to our sickest patients. Now Porter is beginning a program to do the same thing with our hospitalized patients. They will be cared for by physicians based at the hospital and dedicated only to providing timely and responsive care to our inpatients.”

Porter Hospital has hired Dr. Mario Capparuccini to direct this program and serve as one of the two full-time physicians; the second full-time physician joining this program is Dr. Kevin Mulholland, who has been a member of our medical community for many years. In order to ensure that Porter has full coverage for this program 365 days a year, there will be other physician resources available to serve on a per diem basis as needed. These per diem physicians are Dr. Tom Apridonidze, Dr. Jaspinder Sra and Dr. Andre Giannakopoulos. If you have any questions regarding this new program, please speak with your primary care provider. Pat Jannene, Vice President of Patient Care Services says, “We are very excited and enthusiastic about offering this new program, and believe that it will further enhance our ability to provide outstanding care to our patients.

Community Service Award to HPHRC

At the September annual meeting of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center was recognized with the 2011 “Community Service Award”. This award is given annually to a local not-forprofit organization that makes a positive and significant contribution to our community, and according to Chamber President, Andy Mayer, HPHRC received several nominations.

The award was presented by Lynn Coale, a chamber and HPHRC board member, who outlined several reasons affirming why Helen Porter is deserving of this award and described his personal experience to illustrate his points: “Over the course of five years, I have had two separate experiences in which my parents received rehabilitation services at Helen Porter. Both of these experiences have left me feeling profoundly grateful that we have an organization of this caliber in our community. My feelings about this organization are based upon first-hand knowledge, not just with HP but with other health care facilities in New England. Each time I’ve been involved with the staff at Helen Porter, I am almost stunned at the kindness and compassion with which they treat their patients. I find the care at Helen Porter far surpasses what I’ve seen elsewhere. Not only do they offer individuals fine medical treatment, but they provide care which is respectful and leaves the patient’s dignity in tact as well.”

Coale cited the challenges caused by the failure of the Champlain Bridge last October and the immediate response by Administrator Neil Gruber and Helen Porter to provide tangible assistance to their New York employees to help lessen the burden created by the serious issue. In addition to the additional stipend paid to these employees to help defray the cost of fuel, he also specifically mentioned the occasions when Gruber showed up at the ferry crossing very early in the morning with hot coffee and donuts for his employees.

Additionally, Coale referenced the ongoing “Culture Change” effort at HPHRC and said that Helen Porter has taken significant steps to improve the quality of life for their residents.

“I accept this award on behalf of my staff”, Gruber said after receiving the inscribed pewter plate representing this award. “They are the people who deserve this recognition and who provide excellent care to our residents every single day.”


There was an open house on Sept. 15, 2011 to introduce the new end-of-life option at HPHRC. According to PMC President, James L. Daily, Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) is an organization that has established a new end-of-life care room at Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center as a joint/ collaborative effort. “We believe that this is the first and only such respite room located within a long-term care facility in Vermont,” Daily said.

The new ARCH room is exclusively dedicated to individuals seeking endof- life care who are unable to complete their lives at home. While most people would prefer to die at home, in many cases this is just not possible due to many factors. This option allows families to feel safe and cared for during a very challenging time, due to the home-like setting and exceptional professional staff.

Peter Jensen, ARCH board chairman, who has worked on this initiative for over 6 years, has seen the dedication of community members finally come to fruition. “The long term goal is to make these peaceful rooms available to every one regardless of their ability to pay.

The new room is only part of the overall delivery of hospice care—a program of palliative and supportive care services providing physical, psychological, social and spiritual care for dying persons, their families, and loved ones. The actual care of the residents is provided by trained professionals from Helen Porter, Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Hospice Volunteer Services, Partners in Palliative & Home Care and primary care providers” said Jensen.

A recent pledge of $25,000 by the Middlebury Lions Club has been received and used to offset the cost of renovating and furnishing this spe


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Area Medical Practices Working Toward National Certification under
Vermont Blueprint for Health

By the end of this calendar year, Addison County will be home to several medical practices newly certified as “Patient Centered Medical Homes” as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health program. This certification is granted by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and reflects the “successful implementation of many rigorous criteria intended to strengthen the physician-patient relationship by replacing episodic are based on illnesses and patient complaints with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship”, according to Dr. Eileen Fuller of Middlebury Family Health.

Middlebury Family Health and Porter Internal Medicine are slated to achieve this recognition in July and have been the local leaders in securing NCQA certification during the spring/summer of 2011. Other practices scheduled to achieve this distinction by the end of the year are Primary Care - Middlebury, Primary Care - Bristol, Rainbow Pediatrics, Pediatric Primary Care, Primary Care - Brandon and Primary Care - Vergennes.

According to the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association the “medical home” model of care means that each patient has an “ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care”. The physician-led care team is responsible for providing all the patient’s health care needs and, when needed, arranges for appropriate care with other qualified physicians.

According to the NCQA web site, a medical home also emphasizes enhanced care through open scheduling, expanded hours and communication between patients, physicians and staff. “NCQA’s Physician Recognition Programs identify physicians who deliver superior care using standards firmly rooted in medical evidence. To date, nearly 10,000 physicians nationwide have been recognized by NCQA in the areas of diabetes care, cardiovascular care, back pain care and practices that systematically provide preventive and chronic care” according to the NCQA web site.

Among the aspects of care measured by PCMH certification are:

  • Access and CommunicationPatient Tracking and Registry Functions
  • Care Management
  • Patient Self-Management Support
  • Electronic Prescribing
  • Test Tracking
  • Referral Tracking
  • Performance Reporting and
  • Improvement
  • Advanced Electronic Communications

“Every local practice involved in this important work has navigated its way through many different elements, sometimes documenting processes already in place, and sometimes needing to develop new processes, but they have done this in a way that has allowed them to achieve these required elements, while always focusing on improving patient care all along the way,” according to Jean Cotner, Vice President for Porter Practice Management and chair of the local Blueprint Steering Committee.

According to Cotner, the overarching goal of this work is to enhance collaboration, coordination and communication throughout our Addison County health care community to improve the patient experience, deliver the best care possible and use technology in new and better ways.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Hospital Diabetes Program Earns National Accreditation

MIDDLEBURY--The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) recently granted national accreditation to the Porter Hospital Diabetes Program. This accreditation recognizes that Porter offers a program of comprehensive and critical diabetes education services to the people of Addison County.

According to Staff Development Coordinator Elaine Coon, diabetes education is a collaborative process through which people with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. At Porter, all of the programs are provided by specially trained diabetes educators.

“We are very excited to have our diabetes program accredited and look forward to continuing to provide high quality diabetes education to our community” Coon said.

“Our 4 week diabetes self management program includes self management skills in healthy eating, being active, monitoring blood sugar, diabetes medications, problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks” she added. The classes are taught by Kate Myerson RD,CD, CDE, Elaine Coon RN, CDE, Dayton Contois PT, and Renee Mosier Pharm D.

Porter Hospital offers both daytime and evening diabetes education classes. For more information, please call 388.4760.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

PMC Lifeline Program to Transition to Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center

Middlebury--The Porter Medical Center “Lifeline” emergency response program which serves nearly 600 members of our community, will be transitioning from Porter Hospital to Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center over the summer.

“The Lifeline Program has been a vital service for hundreds of our elderly neighbors here in Addison County for decades, and we are very pleased to be incorporating the existing staff, subscribers and program into our Helen Porter family”, said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber.

This transition is intended to be “invisible” to our subscribers, with Monica Sanchez and Pat Watkins continuing in their roles working directly with the subscribers and no other immediate changes. Even the telephone number (388-8817) will remain the same for now, although this will change over the summer when the office is moved into a new location. A letter with this new information and any other specific updates will be sent to all current subscribers via mail.

“The hospital has done a great job of building the Lifeline Program and serving our community for years, our goal is to keep this program strong and growing to meet the needs of our Addison County neighbors”, Gruber said.



MIDDLEBURY – The Open Door Clinic is on the move. The non-profit clinic, which provides primary care services for the uninsured, has shared offices with Champlain Valley Cardiovascular Associates for the past five years. When the cardiovascular group closed, the clinic was forced to find new accommodations. Porter Hospital stepped in and provided donated space in a modular unit for the clinic. More...


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Friday, March 4, 2011                                                          RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

New Hospice Room to be Established by ARCH at Helen Porter

MIDDLEBURY--An agreement signed earlier this month between Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) will soon result in the creation of a new “Hospice Room” to be located within HPHRC.

“The new ARCH Hospice Room at Helen Porter ushers us into a relationship that promises to be exciting and dynamic” said ARCH board president Peter Jensen. “ARCH has admired the courage and commitment of Helen Porter as they have candidly assessed their model of care and concluded that change is necessary; the creation of this new, home-like hospice room is another positive step in this journey”, he said.

In recent months, Helen Porter has introduced a major new “Culture Change” program that will transform many aspects of both the facility and the programs to respond to the changing needs and expectations of our community.

“Nursing homes have a reputation of being very institutional in both appearance and in the services provided, we at Helen Porter are putting all of our energy and many resources into changing that here in Addison County, and the new ARCH Hospice Room is the latest step,” said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber. The newly renovated hospice room, which will be located on the “Otter Creek Way” area at Helen Porter, is scheduled to be completed in early May. According to Gruber, the goal is to create a very comfortable, peaceful “home-like” environment for people unable to spend their final days in their own home.

The new room is only part of the overall delivery of hospice care, which is described as “a program of palliative and supportive care services providing physical, psychological, social and spiritual care for dying persons, their families and loved ones” according to Jensen. He says that the actual care for residents of the ARCH Hospice Room will be provided by “trained professionals from Helen Porter, Addison County Home Health and Hospice and Hospice Volunteer Services.”

“ARCH considers the culture of Helen Porter and the care it provides to be of critical importance to this new joint project and we embrace the opportunity to be located at HPHRC so that this collaboration can benefit many in our community”, he said. Referrals to the new ARCH Hospice Room at Helen Porter will be made by a person’s physician according to Jensen.

According to Gruber, this new space will be an invaluable resource for many local families who cannot care for their loved one at home during their final days, but who still want a home-like space that offers comfortable surroundings not traditionally found in a nursing home or hospital.

“We are excited about this new project and believe that it will be the first step in what we anticipate being a long, positive and growing relationship between ARCH and Helen Porter to better serve our community” Gruber said.


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Monday, February 7, 2011                                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Governor Peter Shumlin to Deliver Keynote Address at Porter Medical Center Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2011 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Tuesday evening, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. in Room 216 of Bicentennial Hall on the campus of Middlebury College. The keynote speaker will be Governor Peter Shumlin. The meeting is free and open to the public.

“With state-wide health care reform as a key priority of our new Governor, the potential impact on Vermont of the Federal health care reform legislation of 2010, and the complexities, challenges and importance of designing and implementing many significant new initiatives related to both of these, this should be a very interesting meeting,” said PMC Chairman Ann Hanson.

In addition to the remarks by Governor Shumlin, brief reports will be provided by PMC Board Chair Ann Hanson, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Ben Rosenberg regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.



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